On Glorious Wings: The Best Flying Stories of the Century

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Since its invention in 1903, the airplane has become the dominant mode of transport, travel, and combat. It has brought the entire planet closer together and changed almost every aspect of how we live today.

Along the way, the airplane has inspired writers in every decade of the twentieth century to celebrate this world-changing creation. From the wild first years of aviation when daredevil men challenged each other to set altitude records to the terrible three-dimensional ...

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On Glorious Wings: The Best Flying Stories of the Century

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Overview

Since its invention in 1903, the airplane has become the dominant mode of transport, travel, and combat. It has brought the entire planet closer together and changed almost every aspect of how we live today.

Along the way, the airplane has inspired writers in every decade of the twentieth century to celebrate this world-changing creation. From the wild first years of aviation when daredevil men challenged each other to set altitude records to the terrible three-dimensional landscape of combat in the air through all the wars of this century, authors from around the world have written of the airplanes and the men and women who fly them.

Now, bestselling author Stephen Coonts has collected some of the finest fiction about flying in one volume. On Glorious Wings contains stories and excerpts from world-renowned authors, including Dale Brown, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Louis L'Amour, James Michener, Joseph Heller, Len Deighton, Frederick Forsyth, William Faulkner, Ralph Peters and Stephen Coonts himself. From the rickety wire-and-wood contraptions of the 1920s to the possible future of warfare in 2020, this collection invites you to take to the skies with some of today's most acclaimed authors, including:

"Five Weeks in a Balloon" by Jules Verne: Take a fanciful trip through the air as imagined by one of the great authors of the nineteenth century.

"All of the Dead Pilots" by William Faulkner: One of America's greatest storytellers looks at Britain in World War II, where a brash American pilot and an unflappable British officer clash over the same woman.

"Wings over Khabarovsk" by Louis L'Amour: The great Western writer also penned many tales for the pulp magazines of the 1930s and '40s, including this classic of the genre about an American pilot framed for spying on the far side of the world.

"An Hour to San Francisco," from The High and the Mighty, by Ernest K. Gann: When a four-engine plane loses an engine over the Pacific Ocean, what had been an uneventful trip becomes a white-knuckle race for survival.

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"Corey Ford Buys the Farm," from Flight of the Intruder, by Stephen Coonts: During the Vietnam Conflict, pilots took lightly armed A-6 Intruders on harrowing near-suicide missions against the North Vietnamese army. Here, the master of the military thriller takes you along for the ride inside the cockpit as three Intruders head out to destroy some Russian MiG fighters grounded in Laos.

"Power River MOA," from The Sky Masters, by Dale Brown: At the Powder River weapons-testing site, the jet fighters may fire blanks, but the air combat simulations are as real as can be. Strap yourself in for a ride in the latest in bomber technology-the EB-52 Megafortress.

"Retaliation," from The War in 2020, by Ralph Peters: In the near future, America is threatened by a joint Iran-Japan military force that threatens the Middle East and Europe. Saddle up with the high-tech, hard-hitting cavalry soldiers of the future and their armored, fire-breathing future flying machines as they take to the air to raid on an enemy base.

With an introduction and story notes written by Stephen Coonts, On Glorious Wings is a must-have for any aviation enthusiast.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Coonts] celebrates the centenary of the Wright brothers' invention with...some buckle your seat belts and open your mind flying fiction."—-The Dallas Morning News

 

"This book will undoubtedly attract readers."—-Booklist

 

" For armchair pilots, love at first sight." —Kirkus Reviews

The Dallas Morning News
"[Coonts] celebrates the centenary of the Wright brothers' invention with...some buckle your seat belts and open your mind flying fiction."
Booklist
"This book will undoubtedly attract readers."
Kirkus Reviews
The flyboy talespinner takes a break between bouts of aerial combat (Liberty, 2003, etc.) to assemble 23 novel excerpts, stories, and pop fragments for those with their hearts in the clouds. The "one tangible symbol" of the last century, Coonts says, is the "airplane. No invention in the history of our species has had a greater impact on human life." We can forgive some preaching diverted in this companion to Coonts’s nonfiction War in the Air: True Accounts of the 20th Century’s Most Dramatic Air Battles (1996). Few of the selections are concerned with the "impact" of the airplane on life because Coonts has excluded science-fictionists, who wrote so much about the effect of early flight technology on society. We do get Jules Verne, whose "Five Days in a Balloon" is a lackluster choice considering the more interesting events that occurred on a vast papier-mâché airplane Verne prophesied in Master of the World. The rest here offer superior accounts of flight or aerial warfare (the best from John Hersey’s The War Hunter, Jack Hunter’s The Blue Max, Ernest Gann’s The High and The Mighty, and Coonts’s own excerpt from Flight of the Intruder) as opposed to tales that use the new powered flight to retell old stories: the horrors of war (a morsel from Catch-22 as well as Faulkner’s "All the Dead Pilots") and the nobility of combat (Dale Brown, Ralph Peters, and others). Snippets from Kipling, Michener, Len Deighton, and Louis L’Amour indicate that they, too, wrote about flying. Most embarrassing is Conan Doyle’s deathless "Horror of the Heights," about monsters lurking in the clouds. Most interesting are three marvelous pop-culture fragments: "Bill’s First Airplane Ride," by Major Henry Arnold;an unattributed glimpse of the adventures of pulp magazine superspy G-8; and Edgar Allan Poe’s fabricated account of a transatlantic balloon race, a story that was believed—for a while—when published in 1844. For armchair pilots, love at first flight. Agent: Robert Gottlieb/Trident Media
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812578638
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/10/2005
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Coonts

Stephen Coonts is the author of thirteen New York Times bestselling novels, the first of which was the classic flying tale, Flight of the Intruder, which spent more than six months at the top of The New York Times bestseller list. His novels have been published around the world and translated into more than a dozen languages. He was honored by the U.S. Naval Institute with its Author of the Year Award in 1986. His latest novel is America. He is also the editor of two anthologies, War in the Air and The New York Times bestselling Combat. He resides with his wife, Deborah, in Nevada.

Biography

One of America's premier authors of action-adventure thrillers, Stephen Coonts broke into publishing in 1986 with his national bestseller Flight of the Intruder, hailed as one of the best novels ever written about flying and the camaraderie of men at war.

A veteran naval aviator who flew the A-6 Intruder during the Vietnam War, Coonts has followed his debut smash with many more novels featuring his protaganist Jake Grafton, each full of the riveting action and page-turning suspense that has gained him a legion of loyal fans.

In addition to his Jake Grafton books, Coonts also has written stand-alone thrillers, a smattering of sci fi and nonfiction, and the Deep Black series, which is co-authored with Jim DeFelice.

Good To Know

Coonts once held jobs as a taxi driver, a police officer, and an attorney.

He was a trustee of West Virginia Wesleyan College from 1990-98 and was inducted into the West Virginia University Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 1992.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      July 19, 1946
    2. Place of Birth:
      Morgantown, West Virginia
    1. Education:
      B.A., West Virginia University, 1968; J.D., University of Colorado, 1979

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Table of Contents

Introduction 13
The Balloon Hoax 17
Five Weeks in a Balloon 35
The Horror of the Heights 53
Mary Postgate 75
Bill's First Airplane Ride 95
Learning to Fly 111
All the Dead Pilots 135
The White Feather Ace 159
For Want of a Fokker 179
Cleveland Airport August 1932 189
Wings over Khabarovsk 211
The Raid 231
The Milk Run 253
Chief White Halfoat 265
Hell Over Germany 283
An Hour to San Francisco 303
Alone 323
LZ Ambush 331
Raid on Thud Ridge 357
Corey Ford Buys the Farm 383
Powder River MOA 397
Retaliation 417
Zero-G Dogfight 437
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 7 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    This was actually one of the worst anthologies on aviation that

    This was actually one of the worst anthologies on aviation that i have read in 45 years.
    The excerpts from full novels weren't bad. the short stories were insipid
    This is the 1st Stephen Coonts book that I have been sorry I purchased

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 19, 2010

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    Posted January 27, 2010

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